Artists from our In the Studio project visited Tim Benson, member of the New English Art Club and President of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. Here's how they found the experience.

'Visiting Tim Benson’s studio on Tuesday was a thoroughly enjoyable experience' says In the Studio artist, Erin Lee. 'His words about the importance of education and opening up the art world to people from different demographics, including young people, women, and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, resonated strongly with me.'

'It was inspiring to see the President of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters striving towards an inclusive art world by changing perceptions of galleries and art societies. Tim spoke of the artist’s role as an ambassador to speak about broader issues and highlighted the importance of showcasing different stories. Tim’s aims for his presidency are inspirational and valuable for the contemporary art world.'

'Tim has been incredibly generous, welcoming us into his studio for two inspiring hours' says Suzon Lagarde. 'He mentioned the importance for him of having a separate space to paint: a studio to work in with no distractions. Most of us taking part in In the Studio still work from our bedrooms, so we discussed the logistics of that and how a lack of decarmation between different areas of our lives was a difficulty in itself.

It was valuable to share the solutions we'd each found to overcome this, like pinning work to the walls and placing work face down to avoid feeling overwhelmed, and setting timers as motivation to start painting. Meeting peers who are in a similar situation and stage of their development is so useful!'

'Tim encouraged us to enter competitions, but also reminded us that rejection is inevitable and not to take it personally, but to channel that frustration into the artwork. He showed us brilliant self portraits produced using this technique!

As President of the ROI, Tim explained how important it was for the society to be accessible to all artists, so that when they select work for their annual exhibitions, those choices reflect the quality of the works and nothing else. One example of this diversification is in welcoming unframed submissions, enabling artists who can't afford framing to enter their work.'

We were fortunate enough to have Paulina's delightful daughter Erin with us for the visit!

'Once again, I felt very lucky to attend this visit through the In The Studio project. When we're talking about all the different elements that come together to give an artist confidence in their practice, what Mall Galleries are creating here is undoubtedly precious. As a young artist, to be recognised and to have the opportunity to meet inspiring professionals like Tim is so valuable.'

Photography by Paulina Kwietniewksa.

Find out more about In the Studio and how to support the project